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The Edge of the Sea Paperback – October 15, 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A brilliantly written argument that changed the course of history." - Vice President Al Gore

"Catching the life breath of science on the still glass of poetry." Time Magazine

About the Author

Rachel Carson (1907–1964) spent most of her professional life as a marine biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By the late 1950s, she had written three lyrical, popular books about the sea, including the best-selling The Sea Around Us, and had become the most respected science writer in America. She completed Silent Spring against formidable personal odds, and with it shaped a powerful social movement that has altered the course of history.


Sue Hubbell is the author of, among other works, A Country Year and A Book of Bees, which was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in Maine and Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (October 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395924960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395924969
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I just finished this and I can't wait to read the rest of the author's work. Carson has a gift for describing the world around her and a command of the language that few seem to appreciate today. This is basically a natural history book written as if it where a novel. In "Edge of the Sea" she describes seashores, the environment and how it defines the animals and plants that a visitor will see. She concentrates on America's East Coast. The text left me with a longing to be there. Where modern writers would use pictures, Carson uses words. This book would be good (4 stars) for anyone who enjoys written imagery. If you already love the sea then it deserves 5.
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Format: Paperback
Having never heard of Rachel Carson except in relation to "Silent Spring", I was pleasantly surprised on first reading her writing in this book by the masterly and near-poetic elegance of her prose. Written in the 1950s, before nature documentaries allowed most of us to see the wonders of marine life with our own eyes, Carson's ability to introduce those wonders to us through evocatively-written description alone (with occasional illustrations) remains truly amazing. The problem is that a generation raised on visual stimuli would probably find it quite difficult to sustain enough patience to go through the whole book, since it does make substantial demands on one's sense of imagination. I found myself struggling by the time I had finished two chapters - even though each chapter is generally about a different kind of seashore (rock, sand, or coral reef), trying to visualise one fascinating organism after another just got rather tedious and confusing. My recommendation to other readers would be to maximise your enjoyment of this book by reading it at the seaside, or in conjunction with a relevant documentary on the Discovery Channel.
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Format: Paperback
I have the 1955 edition of this book and it is on a small list of books that I read at least every 2 years. I live along the Maine Coast and I am an avid aquarium keeper. I began reading this time about a week before the big BP oil disaster in The Gulf Of Mexico and I wish that every person everywhere could read this book today. Some of the science is obviously a bit out of date - we've learned a lot in the past half century, but the beauty of Rachel's writings continues to thrill. When I see the images of oil drenched sea birds on TV, my heart also breaks for the hundreds of species whose micro world is known only to those who have taken the time to explore the magical mysteries that lie at the edge of the sea.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Again, I truly enjoyed this book because she dealt with a different aspect of the sea and did so in a complete and very interesting way. Her descriptions of tides, tidal shores, plant and animal life is superb! I have never read any author who is any better. I would recommend it completely! GL
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By Bob on October 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read the book for the first time many years ago and have recently purchased it again for my Kindle. It has so much in it for anyone who loves the sea and is also curious about the creatures in it. Carson is a gifted writer and the illustrations help make it a real educational experience. Even though it is easy to read, it is not to be read through quickly because there is way too much to be learned.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my husband for father's day because he likes everything about the sea. It is also written by Rachel Carson, who has written so many meaningful books, I feel this is a good read for everyone.
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Format: Paperback
Rachel Carson is a trained marine biologist, but this book is much more than a scientific study regarding the flora and fauna at "The Edge of the Sea". It resonates with a poignant and reverential awareness of the life force and life cycles that colonize our world. It never retreats from a sense of awe at that same life force which eventually produced the human race, and which is still the heart of a mystery. The details of individual life cycles are portrayed for a multitude of species, and also the interdependence of those species, as in how one species typically provides food for another. To survive, the species needs to produce larvae in numbers that far exceed the actual number of mature adults that survive. The life force not only uses this over-calculation of larvae to perpetuate itself against the impact of predators, but also as a means to further extend the species by colonization across oceans. This ever-reaching depiction of the life force is certainly a trait of the human species, and may be what Goethe captured as the striving force in Faust.

This book certainly draws you into a reverential frame of mind, and at times mesmerizes. It's interesting to extrapolate and compare some of the tendencies of these simpler life forms onto the human race. One large and noticeable difference is in the value that the human species generally has put on any individual human life with its construction of morality. For the simpler species, the production of extreme numbers presume that many will not survive and will be sacrificed. Its also interesting to note that this devaluation of the individual life resurfaces for the human species in its perpetuation of war and tribal clashes.

Finally, I guarantee that when you go to the shore for the first time after reading this book, you will not look at it the same way that you once did.
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